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I got a tour of Earthaven by Arjuna, a community resident, and got to visit her natural home there called “Lela” which was designed and built by Steve O Brodmerkel.
The house took about five years to complete, but I can honestly say that its one of the most impressive natural homes that I’ve ever seen. I think anybody would love to own a home like this. It was aesthetically pleasing to look at, comfortable to be in, energy efficient, and had all the modern amenities of a typical home. It also had a very nice kitchen.
It is mostly an earthen home consisting of cob and compressed earth bricks. The north side of the building is built out of strawbales for a higher insulation value on the coldest side.
One of the most amazing things I experienced while visiting this building was to feel how warm it was inside.
The building is designed with passive solar features to capture sunlight on the southern side and store it in the thermal mass of the walls and floors.
It was a cold January day in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, but when you stepped inside this building you felt the warmth envelop you. Arjuna had only burnt two logs in her fireplace early in the morning, but it was still toasty and warm throughout the home late in the afternoon as the winter sun started to dip under the horizon.
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